It took its sweet time to get going, but the World T20 did burst into life and some of cricket's finest performers took centre-stage.
Cow Corner marks the end of the tournament with his best XI from Sri Lanka. Seven nations are represented, with the victorious West Indies boasting the most representatives with three.
Have your say - do you agree with Cowers' choices?
Chris Gayle (West Indies)
222 runs at 44.4, three half-centuries, strike rate of 150, 16 sixes
Gayle's exile from the West Indies team seems a long time ago now. He is the life and soul of the team, and the best batsman in T20 cricket, marrying bludgeoning strokeplay to rare consistency. He hit his 300th T20 six during the course of the tournament — only one other man (Kieron Pollard) has even managed 200. A rare failure in the final should not detract from a stellar tournament, in which he hit more sixes than the India team combined.
Shane Watson (Australia)
249 runs at 49.8, three half-centuries, strike rate of 150 — 11 wickets at 16, strike rate of a wicket every 13 balls
Watson stayed on after Australia's exit to receive a trophy for being player of the tournament — it was a strong statement to award it to him given that the defining final had yet to take place, but given that Watson scored more runs than any other player, and only one bowler managed more wickets, he was impossible to overlook. As an all-rounder, he is a force to be reckoned with in all formats, and at 31 he seems finally free from the injuries which blighted the early part of his career.
Marlon Samuels (West Indies)
230 runs at 38.33, three half-centuries, 15 sixes - three wickets
Samuels ousted Mahela Jayawardene with his innings in the final. We saw a new-and-improved Samuels on the tour of England earlier in the year, and that form ran into the final. He scored twice the runs of any other player in the decider to turn a hopeless 32-2 at 10 overs into a defendable score. He was also a game bowler for the West Indies, taking three wickets with his off-spinners and being called upon to bowl at the death and even in the Super Over against New Zealand which kept his team in the tournament.
Virat Kohli (India)
185 runs at 46.25, two half-centuries
This tournament was dominated by batsmen in the top three for their teams, but Kohli earns a spot for the sheer classiness of his strokeplay and his ability to play at any pace in any situation. He dug India out of a tricky position against Afghanistan, and made light work of a must-win match over fierce rivals Pakistan. Still only 23, and seems to be improving rapidly.
Luke Wright (England)
193 runs at 48.25, two half-centuries, strike rate of 169.29, 13 sixes
An England batsman in a tournament where the defending champions often struggled might seem a surprise, but Wright impressed for England. There was some serious, clean hitting, and an ability to accelerate that even Gayle would have been proud of — in fact he ended the tournament with the best strike rate of any player who made more than 100 runs. A bright spot in a difficult event for England.
Ross Taylor (New Zealand)
147 runs at 49, strike rate of 145.54
The finisher — there were not too many of those on display in Sri Lanka, but Taylor has always had a knack of putting the gloss on innings in the shortest format of the game. His leg-side game is no secret, but punchy cameos in every game (he never scored lower than an unbeaten 14) were vital for New Zealand, who might be looking back on a very different tournament had they won the two matches they lost in Super Overs.
Brendon McCullum (New Zealand)
212 runs at 42.4, one century
McCullum is by a distance the highest run-scorer in T20 international cricket, and began the tournament by hitting the highest innings in T20 internationals to date, a blistering 123 against Bangladesh. His time in Sri Lanka went downhill from there, but at an event where a wicketkeeper has to score runs, McCullum edges out closest rival Kumar Sangakkara (170 at 28.33) for the gloves.
Sunil Narine (West Indies)
Nine wickets at 15.44, economy rate 5.64, strike rate 16.4
Fans of the IPL knew all about Narine already, but now he's also flourished on the world stage. An off-break bowler with a doosra, Narine was often saved until the death, and delivered for his captain time and again. Figures of three for nine in the final tell their own story, as does two for 17 in the semi-final but perhaps more impressive still was his three for 20 in the last Super Eight game against New Zealand — needing 27 runs from four overs, the Kiwis were stifled by two overs from Narine which cost just five runs and produced two wickets — it kept the West Indies alive.
Ajantha Mendis (Sri Lanka)
15 wickets at 9.8, economy rate 6.12, strike rate 9.6
Remember, mystery spinner Mendis has been worked out: that's the conventional wisdom on him. Despite that, he began with six for eight against Zimbabwe, and finished with four for 12 against West Indies in the final. Curiously it was against two sides with less than glorious record against spin — England and New Zealand — that he proved expensive — but he still remains capable of ripping through a side like few other bowlers in this format.
Dale Steyn (South Africa)
Six wickets at 13.66, economy rate 4.82, strike rate 17
Others took more wickets, but nobody came close to matching Steyn's economy rate. Going at 4.82 an over would be more than acceptable in 50-over cricket — managing it in the 20-over game borders on the miraculous. South Africa endured a miserable tournament on the back of a sensational tour of England — but that was despite Steyn's controlled yet attacking swing bowling.
Steven Finn (England)
Eight wickets at 15.37, economy rate 6.15, strike rate 15
Another relentlessly consistent performer — Finn was called upon for overs at the start and towards the end of innings, and never went for more than 33 off his four overs. A wicket-taking opening bowler, operating at 90mph, and giving precious little away, was another positive for England in a trip where there were few to cling on to, and his three for 16 against New Zealand was a superb performance. But for heaven's sake, Steve — it's time to stop knocking over the stumps in your delivery stride.
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